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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Raspberry pruning workshop and summer garden clean up this Saturday

Our second crop of raspberries is starting to ripen and so it is high time that we prune out the old canes that gave us an amazing first crop in June and July! I will be in the garden to show all interested how this is done on Saturday, August 23 at 10:30am. I will also tell you how to prune the second crop canes during winter.

The garden is looking great and some of our watering crews have been doing some ongoing maintenance. Thank you all!

There is still some trimming and tidying up that should be done though, so if you feel like hanging around for half an hour after the raspberry pruning workshop (which will take about 5-10 min), your help would be greatly appreciated!

Sadly, the garden has been experiencing repeated vandalism this summer. Please, if you see any untoward activity around the school, call either the non-emergency police line at 604-717-3321 or if the activity warrants it (it is active vandalism or illegal activity) call 911.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Cucumbers and beans in full swing in the Garibaldi garden

It was my pleasure this week to help watering the garden and it was really great seeing our families and neighbours coming in for some raspberries and peas!

There are still a few peas and raspberries but picking is slim at the moment. There will be more Raspberries in about 3 weeks when the next crop starts coming in:)

Right now, our cucumbers and beans are rocking some great fruit! Come and have some! They are growing in the "Dogwood flower" bed on the tripods.

Chard, kale and lots of herbs and flowers are also available for picking. Some lettuces as well.


P.S. I am hoping to get together some helpers to do about an hours work of garden maintenance around Aug 16. I will be sending out a notice about it closer to the date. I will also be demonstrating how to prune twice-bearing raspberries.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Thanks from the Food Bank!

We have harvested and dropped off some peas, lettuces and chard at the Food Bank on Monday. Thank you to all who are helping to make food grow!

Keep harvesting and sharing with our neighbours!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How to get an access pass for Hastings park use during PNE

Please see the info from Hastings Community Center.
This pass is for actual park use only (not for access to PNE).

Hastings Park access card

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Letter from VSB to Garibaldi Parents and Guardians

June 30, 2014

Dear Garibaldi Parents and Guardians,

Recently, some decisions have been made by the School District regarding use of space at Garibaldi Annex . We understand that some questions may have arisen regarding the rationale for some of these decisions and are therefore providing the following information. We hope it will be helpful to you. Staff from the School District offices will be moving into the upper floor at Garibaldi starting in the fall of 2014.

Why are they coming to Garibaldi? 

As you may be aware, the district has experienced significant budget shortfalls for a number of years including an approximate twelve million dollar shortfall for the upcoming school year. As a result, the District has had to make some very difficult decisions regarding spending reductions and has also needed to identify areas of potential revenue. The District will be leasing the space at the District offices currently occupied by District Learning Services staff (teachers and support staff) in order to increase revenue. These staff members will be moving into excess space in a variety of schools around the District, including Garibaldi Annex. The Ministry of Education has made it clear that it expects school districts to use school space as efficiently as possible and has expressed concern about funding seismic or new school construction as long as a District has what the Ministry considers to be excess space . Garibaldi has an official capacity of 170 students, however there have only been approximately 70 students registered in the regular program for the majority of the past five years. This has resulted in a significant amount of excess space in the school. Garibaldi has had the ability to make use of and enjoy this extra space for a number of years , however as this space is considered 'above and beyond' what the Ministry of Education designates as necessary educational space, it must be re-designated at this time. The District has engaged in a careful long-term enrolment projection process and is projecting that in­ catchment enrolment at Garibaldi is likely to remain between 60 and 70 students for the next 15 years . This equates to a maximum of three divisions and therefore the need for three enrolling classrooms. This leaves a significant amount of excess space at Garibaldi that has therefore been identified to accommodate some of the staff from District Learning Services. Should the catchment enrolment shared between Lord Nelson Elementary and Garibaldi Annex ever increase significantly, use of space within both schools would be carefully re-examined .

What kind of checks will be in place in terms of these adults interacting with students? 

The adults moving into Garibaldi are all VSB staff who, as a condition of employment, will have already been expected to undergo criminal record checks and to adhere to the District Guidelines for Adults Interacting with Students . Although it will likely be somewhat rare for any of the Learning Services staff to interact directly with students at Garibaldi, the majority of these staff members are teachers who interact with students in many schools in the District as part of their professional roles. It is common practice for District Learning Services staff to work in a number of elementary schools across the District.

Why are the students going to be in classrooms only on the main floor of the school? 

The upper floor of Garibaldi was selected in order to accommodate the maximum number of District staff as its current layout includes a minimal number of walls and is therefore able to easily accommodate a greater number of staff cubicles. The lower floor is currently divided into classroom spaces and would have required significant additional cost to the District in order to reconfigure the space.

Three of the classrooms on the lower floor will therefore continue to be used as enrolling classrooms and one will be used to create the new library. Will the school library be reduced because of this move? 

Although the physical size of the new library will be smaller than the current library, the library collection and its availability to students will not change. The library size will be consistent with that of a number of schools in the District, and given that the enrolment at Garibaldi is under 70 students, the space per student is actually greater than in most schools.

What about the computers from the library? 

The District has been moving away from a 'separate' computer lab model to one of technology integration within classrooms. The District is about to purchase a class set of IPAD Minis and a cart for Garibaldi. This purchase will allow students at Garibaldi to experience use of current learning technology in a flexible way. With a student to IPAD ratio of 3:1, students at Garibaldi will actually have greater access to learning technology than students in many elementary schools. It is being investigated as to whether some of the current computers in the library can also be moved into enrolling classroom next year.

What about 'wet' space for Art? 

Each of the classrooms on the main floor has a 'wet' area with a sink and tiled floor. Teachers will be working with the school administration to determine whether additional facilities such as more counter space or sinks, drying racks, etc. will need to be purchased and the District will fund those purchases.

There is a rumour that the District is trying to 'cap' enrolment at Garibaldi. Is that true? 

No cap has been placed on in-catchment enrolment at Garibaldi. Students who live within the catchment shared by Garibaldi Annex and Lord Nelson Elementary continue to be able to register at Garibaldi as they have always done. As the District's budget has continued to be reduced by the Ministry, however, our staffing budget has become much tighter and our ability provide extra staffing to schools to accommodate students who do not live in the catchment has become severely reduced. If there is space available after all in-catchment students have been placed, then out-of-catchment students will continue to be approved for registration. Incoming students who do not live within Garibaldi's catchment and have a sibling already attending Garibaldi will continue to be given priority over other out-of-catchment applicants to the school when there is space available . Garibaldi is not treated any differently than any other school in the District in this regard.

There is a rumour that Garibaldi 'lost' its Kindergarten teacher last year because the District put a limit on the size of the incoming Kindergarten class. Is that true? 

The District did not put any limit on the number of incoming Kindergarten students who live within the Garibaldi catchment. Class sizes are determined provincially and the District is required to adhere to those class size limits, providing space, wherever possible, for students who live within a school's catchment. All schools are organized in the most efficient manner, so that in-catchment students are able to attend their neighbourhood school if they choose to . Teacher staffing is then provided based on the number of in­ catchment students registered at the school. If, after all in-catchment students are placed, there are still student spaces available within class size limits, then registration is opened to out-of-catchment students through the cross-boundary application process . These decisions are all made in accordance with the British Columbia School Act and Board policies relating to registration and cross-boundary applications. Again, Garibaldi has not been treated any differently than other schools in the District.

Why did Garibaldi 'lose' the Music teacher last year? 

Non-enroling staffing , such as Music specialists, librarians , Resource teachers, Administration, etc . is assigned to schools based on the total number of students in a school. As enrolment declines, the staffing assigned is reduced accordingly. Schools with a very small student population therefore generate a very small non-enroling staffing allocation, which often must be combined into a single position wherever possible in order to ensure the most efficient use of District staffing resources . Combined with decreasing flexibility regarding budget-based staffing allocations, this is what occurred at Garibaldi, resulting in the Music program being taught by the Vice-Principal. The non-enroling staffing allocation in a larger school is much higher and therefore the school is able to benefit from a higher specialist allocation. This is not fiscally possible in very small schools such as Garibaldi.

What happened with the review of the Garibaldi catchment boundaries? 

This spring, the District conducted a review of several school catchments located in the Northeast sector of the District, including Garibaldi. The review included the opportunity for school community members to provide input regarding potential changes to their catchment. It is my understanding that a number of Garibaldi , Lord Nelson and Begbie parents, including the Garibaldi PAC chair, attended the public input session and provided input both verbally and later in writing . All input was considered and ultimately, it was concluded that there was no overwhelming evidence to support adjustments to the Garibaldi catchment. Although some families did indicate a preference for an adjustment to the catchment boundaries, the majority did not. As such, families who do not live within the Nelson/Garibaldi catchment will continue to need to apply for cross-boundary approval in order to attend either of these schools and that approval will be based on available space as per Board policy .

Why was the Home Learners Program moved from Garibaldi? 

The District Home Learners program has been moved to Beaconsfield Elementary in order to provide the opportunity for intermediate students to remain in the program . This move was initiated primarily because some of the parents of students in the Home Learners program indicated that they would appreciate the opportunity to have their children continue in the program past grade four . The District supports this idea . Home Learners happened to be located at Garibaldi , however it was not a Garibaldi program and as such, it was subject to being relocated in order to best meet program needs.

I hear a rumour that the supervision aides at Garibaldi have changed some of the playground rules. Why is that? 

Playground rules are determined at the school level. It is expected that students will be supervised on the playground in a manner that minimizes the possibility of harm to students, however individual school administrators ultimately have the freedom and responsibility to determine what that will look like at their school site. If parents have questions about an issue such as this, they are encouraged to speak with the vice-principal and principal, who ultimately have the responsibility of ensuring student safety within their school. Finally, there has been a change to the administrative structure at Garibaldi Annex. Effective September 2014, Garibaldi will revert to being administered by the Principal of Lord Nelson Elementary. This change reflects the need to align the administrative structure with the shared Lord Nelson/Garibaldi Annex catchment area. School-based concerns should continue to be addressed through the Vice-Principal at Garibaldi, Ms. Baker, however Ms. Mette Hamaguchi, Principal of Lord Nelson, will also provide the supervision that used to occur by the principal of Begbie Elementary, Mr. Bob Bodden . The school and the District sincerely wish each of the Garibaldi families a relaxing and enjoyable summer and look forward to welcoming many of you back to Garibaldi in September.


Denise Johnson Director of Instruction

The food in the Garibaldi Garden is for all - eat it please:)

Happy Summer to all!

At the moment, there is plenty of romain lettuce and mescalun salad greens, chard, kale, sugar peas, raspberries and currants. There is always plenty of mint for summer drinks (it hides in and around the raspberry clump by the parking lot fence), rosemary, fennel and lemonbalm, lavender and calendulas.
Garlic will be ready for digging up very soon!

Please, do come and take what you need for dinner or snack and let others in the neighbourhood know.

If you have time and you notice that there is lots of a particular crop unused, please take the pleasure in delivering our surplus to the Food bank. They will be thrilled! The best time to pick produce to keep it from wilting is before 9am. Store it in a rubber bin or plastic bags in a cool spot or with ice packs for transport.

The the Food Bank office at 1150 Raymur Avenue (close to Casa Gelato) is open Monday to Friday 7am to 3pm.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Free workshop on smart watering and composting

We will be hosting a watering and composting workshop on July 2th 2014, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at  2603 Adanac St, Vancouver.

What can you expect during the workshop?

    Catherine, the City of Vancouver’s expert garden consultant, will spend about an hour and a half with us in the garden looking for ways to use water efficiently to grow healthy lawns and plants.  Together we’ll take a “hands on” look at our plants’ health, lawn structure and examine the soil.
    Catherine will provide tips on how to improve your lawn, what types of plant to select for different areas of your garden, how to water to have the maximum impact with the least wastage, and how to trouble shoot your compost.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP by e-mail to or by texting to 778-991-9180.

Hope to see you soon!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

VSB letter regarding labour disruption

June 23, 2014

Dear Parents and Guardians,

The purpose of this letter is to provide you with an update on some of the matters that may be of concern to you as a result of the current labour disruption.

As you are aware, the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) have reached an impasse with regard to negotiating a new contract and, as a result, on June 17, 2014 the BCTF escalated to a full-scale strike. Unfortunately, it appears that the two parties are not making progress and the possibility of schools reconvening before the end of the school year seems very unlikely.

Report Cards

Grades K-7

The strike action will not allow for the completion and distribution of report cards for students in grades K through 7. The information that we need in order to produce report cards is not available due to the strike and therefore, we are not able to produce an accurate statement of your child’s progress. Unless you have been notified otherwise, your child will progress to the next grade and no report card will be issued.

Grades 8-9

The strike action will not allow for the production of complete report cards for students in grades 8 and 9. The information that we need in order to produce report cards is not available due to the strike. We are unable to determine an accurate final grade and will therefore assign a grade of “No Mark” (NM) for grade 8 and 9 courses. The report cards will not include comments or a description of work habits.

Grades 10, 11 and 12

The Labour Relations Board has ruled that final marks for students in grades 10, 11 and 12 will be submitted by teachers. However, the strike action will not allow for the production of complete report cards for students in grades 10, 11 and 12. Students in these grades will receive report cards, which will include final course marks. However, the report cards will not include comments or a description of work habits.

Summer School

At this date, the district does not have information from the BCTF about plans to continue the strike with picket lines through the summer. We recognize that this uncertainty is difficult for everyone. We will make a decision regarding the operation of summer school later this week and further information will be posted on the district website:

Year End Routines

We are planning to distribute secondary report cards by the end of next week. Individual schools will make arrangements for students to pick up yearbooks/other belongings and drop off textbooks /library books later next week. Your school will provide more information about this.


Parents are encouraged to review information posted on the following websites:

BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA):

BC School Trustees’ Association (BCSTA):

BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF):

Vancouver Teachers’ Federation - local (VTF):,

Ministry of Education:

Vancouver School District:

If you have specific questions about school-related matters during the labour disruption, please contact your school principal directly.

I am sorry that I do not have more positive news for you. I am proud of the hard work and support provided by all staff in this complex school district. It is my hope that the labour dispute is resolved at the bargaining table and that our school district can soon return to normal operations.

Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time.

Dr. Steve Cardwell
Superintendent of Schools
c. Vancouver Board of Education.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Still looking for help with watering in during weeks Aug 11-17 and Aug 25-31

Thanks to all who agreed to help!

For all other weeks we have found 2 families each, so you can back each other up (I will be sending the tentative schedule + contatcts to those who signed up).

I am still looking for 2 families for Aug 25-31 and 1 family for Aug 11-17.

Please e-mail, if you can help.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Wood chip work party postponed to Wednesday, June 25

We will meet between 10 and 12.
Please, bring wheelbarrows. The more wheelbarrow we have, the faster it will be done!

Let's make Mr. Scott happy and move the wood chips in between the garden beds:) If you can and want to, you can come in a do a bit before next Wednesday. I might pop in this Sunday around 2pm for a bit.

See you at the BBQ!